China suspended Mansarovar Yatra from Indian part of Sikkim protesting India over incursion. However, it is yet to know what happens to those Indian pilgrimages waiting to enter Mansarovar from Nepal.
China lodges protest with India over Sikkim ‘incursion’, hints Mansarovar yatra off till troops are withdrawn. According to Indian media, Beijing indicated that Kailash Mansarovar yatra, one of the major confidence-building measures between India and China, will be used as a lever in the incident.
China on Tuesday lodged protests in Beijing and New Delhi against Indian soldiers’ “trespassing” into its territory and indicated the Mansarovar Yatra would remain suspended till India “withdrew” its troops.
The ministry of foreign affairs made it clear it would leverage the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a major confidence-building measure between the two often-bickering neighbors, in the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim.
“As to the Indian pilgrims’ journey through Nathu La pass in the Sikkim section, I think the Indian side is very clear about it. For a long time, the Chinese government has made enormous efforts to provide necessary convenience for those Indian pilgrims. But recently, the Indian border personnel trespassed the Chinese border to obstruct construction so we have taken necessary actions,” ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Tuesday.
China had put the pilgrimage on hold out of security concerns, he said.
“So for the upcoming actions, we have to depend on what the Indian side will do. They have to take actions to improve the security situation,” Lu said, spelling out the bargain.
It also said because of the trouble in the area, Beijing suspended the 21-day pilgrimage through Nathu La.
It’s rare for China to officially accuse India of incursion across the LAC but the face-off between the forces in Sikkim – and the media reports and reaction in India – would have convinced Beijing to come out with not one but two statements within hours.
It is also the first time that Beijing has specified the reason for suspending the annual pilgrimage after a weekend of silence.
At a regular ministry briefing on Tuesday, Lu said Beijing had lodged protests with the Indian embassy and with relevant authorities in New Delhi.
“We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position. Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and take immediate withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border,” Lu said.
Till then, every year 18 batches of 60 Indians undertook the journey through the Lipu Lekh pass in Uttarkhand, close to Nepal border. The route, which is still operational, is tougher.